Iquitos Surreal Gallery
Iquitos, Peru 2011
® Barbara Beltramello
Iquitos has proven to be a truly special place. People’s simplicity, their warmth, time that seems to have stopped, market’s life and the floating houses, all of the above makes Iquitos a place difficult to forget. An almost surreal place in which I was able to savor completely everyday of this workshop with Ernesto. Once again, the final result has greatly surprised me because it has gone above all my expectations. Not always, was I able to obtain the photos that I wanted, but I understood that the most important thing is to at least trying with lots of patience and calm. Another thing that shocked me has been to see each of the student was able to develop their own visual language. I’m not sure how Ernesto manages to guide all his students to get the best out of each of them. There are many images and sensations that I’m still carrying inside and that for sure will stay with me forever.
® Maria Kokljuschkin
Colorful Iquitos was full of life and we had this great opportunity to capture daily living of people with Ernesto´s great advice. Every day we went to new places to shoot but we also learned the importance of returning to the same place over and over again. I remember the first day best because somehow it changed my photographic vision a little bit. I realized that I need to be more patient to see “the right moment”. It still is difficult to recognize it and even more challenging to capture it but I will continue learning. I think we were fortunate to have had the chance to meet these wonderful people of the Amazon and visit their homes. The whole experience in Iquitos was unforgettable and I enjoyed the good energy of our small group. I hope I’ll have the chance to go back there someday.
® Pam Richmond
We went out into the blighted landscape and poverty of Iquitos searching for “photographic moments” and found a wealth of natural beauty, and human connection. That is the miracle of Iquitos, which remains a raw frontier outpost both enriched and ruined by the extraction of the Amazon’s resources. Amazing brilliantly colored giant fish, very human-like monkeys, canines of every color and configuration, anacondas, manatees and other wonders of the flooded Amazon highlight the on-going tension between wildness and “civilization” that characterizes this area. Log bodies of enormous trees lie amid plank shacks along the edges of wide brown waters and the muddy swimming holes of children. One feels the deep affinity of people and animals as well as the caring between humans. Still, neglect and sometimes abuse of captive animals and vulnerable children is evident despite efforts to protect threatened species and prevent the rapacious tendencies of some. I feel fortunate to have been able to spend 10 days photographing this world with Ernesto and our Iquitos Surreal group. And lucky to be able to keep up (more or less) with the wonderful young women in our group (despite the hundreds of steps down to the river and back up), and to avoid a mud bath at “isla de monos” or falling in the fast moving water as we climbed in and out of dugouts. What a photo opportunity, replete with emotional and physical support to offset the challenges. Many thanks Ernesto for this great experience.
® Paola Nalvarte
I can never feel more alive than in the Amazon jungle. For me it is a place so full of life where I can feel her everywhere, the Sachamama, the spirit of the rainforest, protecting me. And being able to capture along the way how people live, their daily routine, some of the forest wild animals, makes it even more special. And, on top of it all, being guided by a master like Ernesto, makes it even more particular, unique. Having the delicious cocona sauce (not “coconut”), at every lunch was for me a very grateful and comforting flavor, full of sensations. A precious experience. Thank you master!